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The recycling rate of atmospheric moisture over the past two decades (1988–2009)

Li, Liming and Jiang, Xun and Chahine, Moustafa T. and Olsen, Edward T. and Fetzer, Eric J. and Chen, Luke and Yung, Yuk L. (2011) The recycling rate of atmospheric moisture over the past two decades (1988–2009). Environmental Research Letters, 6 (3). Art. No. 034018. ISSN 1748-9326.

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Numerical models predict that the recycling rate of atmospheric moisture decreases with time at the global scale, in response to global warming. A recent observational study (Wentz et al 2007 Science 317 233–5) did not agree with the results from numerical models. Here, we examine the recycling rate by using the latest data sets for precipitation and water vapor, and suggest a consistent view of the global recycling rate of atmospheric moisture between numerical models and observations. Our analyses show that the recycling rate of atmospheric moisture has also decreased over the global oceans during the past two decades. In addition, we find different temporal variations of the recycling rate in different regions when exploring the spatial pattern of the recycling rate. In particular, the recycling rate has increased in the high-precipitation region around the equator (i.e., the intertropical convergence zone) and decreased in the low-precipitation region located either side of the equator over the past two decades. Further exploration suggests that the temporal variation of precipitation is stronger than that of water vapor, which results in the positive trend of the recycling rate in the high-precipitation region and the negative trend of the recycling rate in the low-precipitation region.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Li, Liming0000-0002-5257-9849
Jiang, Xun0000-0001-8932-3807
Yung, Yuk L.0000-0002-4263-2562
Additional Information:© 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd. Articles submitted before November 2012 are published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) licence, which requires that permission be sought for commercial reuse. Received 11 April 2011; Accepted for publication 21 July 2011; Published 17 August 2011. We thank S Newman, N Heavens, R Shia, L Kuai, M Line, X Zhang, and M Gerstell for helpful comments. This work was partly supported by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Precipitation data are from GPCP V 2.1 and SSM/I. Water vapor data are from SSM/I.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:precipitation; water vapor; recycling rate; hydrological cycle
Issue or Number:3
Classification Code:92.60.Ry Climatology; 92.70.Mn Impacts of global change; global warming; 92.60.Jq Water in the atmosphere (humidity, clouds, evaporation, precipitation)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140822-084607580
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:The recycling rate of atmospheric moisture over the past two decades (1988–2009) Liming Li et al 2011 Environ. Res. Lett. 6 034018
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:48794
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:22 Aug 2014 19:48
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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